Poetry / November 2009 (Issue 9)


by Melody S. Gee

Ancestors sap juice from our oranges,
darkened and hardened on the mantle.
Not thirsty anymore, they are grateful, you say.

They are not grateful, MaMa. They know
we are afraid to let them go hungry.
More afraid of them than hunger itself,
we give away every first taste.

I am taking an orange from the mantle
bowl, its skin nearly leather. My mouth sour
from giving them what’s mine. Let them

come with curses and eat leftovers instead.
I choose the meat cleaver, too heavy,
too ready. Where there should be
glistening pockets of juice and tight, teardrop

flesh, something has invaded. The face inside
is pocked with gray mold, terrible
and dry. Fetid acid punches water

out of my eyes. What I know for certain:
No one has left us this decay. I know it is we
who have let fruit rot for them.

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